A Dublin student who achieved six H1s in this year’s Leaving Cert has been “left in limbo” after he received no CAO offer due to a system mix-up.
James Delaney was shocked when he logged on to the CAO website last Friday to see he had not been offered a place at Trinity College Dublin to study law and business, despite getting well above the points needed.
The highly-competitive degree only has 25 available places and now James fears he will miss out on the course he worked tirelessly to get into.
A different student’s Leaving Certificate examination number was allocated to his CAO number, resulting in him not receiving an offer for any of his ten choices.
The CAO said James must wait until round two offers are made on September 23, meaning he will not be guaranteed a place.
“We fear that James might fall through the cracks, and even if they do process his correct application in round two, we’re worried that he won’t get his first choice,” his father Eoin told Independent.ie.
“We had a very nice week after he got his results and were very calm about the CAO process as he had done so well with his results. We thought our worries with calculated grades were over, but then he realised he hadn’t received any offer at all and couldn’t understand it.
“We found an unknown student exam number included on his record and up came the results associated with that individual. The results were equated to roughly 400 points.”
Students were sent an email on May 15 instructing them to check and verify that all the information on their CAO application is correct and to contact them if there was an error.
“When I checked my application the error was not there, therefore I had no reason to inform the CAO,” James said.
“The exam number is provided by the State Examination Commission and not the applicants. It is the responsibility of the CAO to match this data to all CAO applicants.”
This issue has affected a number of students across the country.
A CAO spokesperson would not confirm just how many, but said it “is in line with previous years”.
“Some of the offers that are issued in round two every year are to applicants who need to be accommodated after adjustments have been made due to applicant omissions or errors, or administrative errors caused by the Higher Education Institutions or CAO.
“In a small number of cases, an incorrect Leaving Certificate examination number can be attributed to an applicant if, for example, there are two applicants with similar name and date of birth.
“We do appreciate that it can be quite upsetting for an applicant to realise their examination information was incorrect, and every effort is made by CAO and the higher education institutes to facilitate such applicants in round two.”
However, the spokesperson added that in “rare cases” this may not be possible.
The CAO stated that for applicants presenting higher education qualifications, the Application Handbook clearly states that: If you have completed a course you should include an academic transcript or a certified photocopy of an academic transcript with your postal documents.
Sarah O’Connor Cole (19) from Enniscorthy, Co Wexford also missed out on a round one offer after her results weren’t uploaded to the CAO system.
She had just completed a level 6 higher certificate in culinary arts at Waterford Institute of Technology.
“My results were posted out to me on June 8, 2020 and I received an overall distinction. I applied back in February to the CAO for teaching courses. I assumed when I received my results they would be automatically uploaded to the CAO like my Leaving Cert results in 2018. With about a month to go, there was still no sign. I contacted the CAO and they said they would be up in time for round 0.”
By August 8, there was still no sign of her results on the application, so she called the CAO again.
"I contacted ministers and was eventually told to send a hard copy of my results to the CAO for next day delivery on September 8, in time for round one offers.
“My results are still not uploaded and I will yet again miss out on a college place. I am forced to work for minimum wage for the year and maybe, just maybe they might have my results up next year.
“I am angry and frustrated as I’m trying my best to further my studies.”
A CAO spokesperson said: "For applicants presenting higher education qualifications, the Handbook states that:' If you have completed a course you should include an academic transcript or a certified photocopy of an academic transcript with your postal documents.'"